Does the Soul Exist?

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Is there a soul?

Humans have souls, but animals and other living things do not
1
6%
Both animals and humans have souls
6
38%
The soul does not exist
6
38%
Other
3
19%
 
Total votes: 16

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deschainXIX
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 17 Nov 2014 18:40

Brief word of advice: never base belief in these things solely on what is directly perceivable with your senses.

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Well said.

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HAGART
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby HAGART » 18 Nov 2014 06:03

I've never seen an atom either, and I don't believe they are clusters of blue and green protons and neutrons with an electron orbiting it like you imagine from science class. Atoms are an illusion. More of an idea than a physical thing, but they can be measured and quantified and they interact with the physical universe in predictable ways.

If it was drawn to scale the electrons would be on the other side of a football field and never fit on a text book page and I'm pretty sure if we were to look at an atom with our eyes somehow, hypothetically, under the most powerful microscope the neutrons are not green and the protons are not blue. So I understand why that cartoon image of one is prevalent and used as a learning tool. It aids children in their basic understanding.

That cartoon image of reality, of atoms, we all learned, and think we know is wrong! It's a complete illusion! I think we can all agree on that.

This both opens and closes the door on the question of that 'thing' known as a soul. We all agree a soul isn't tangible, and yet I just said atoms aren't either. The question is, does the soul have any influence on anything? Is is measurable? Does it have a quantity? Does it have a quality?

Can you have one soul, two soul, more soul, less soul, white soul, black soul, red fish, blue fish?
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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R99
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby R99 » 18 Nov 2014 07:23

deschainXIX wrote:Brief word of advice: never base belief in these things solely on what is directly perceivable with your senses.

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Brief word of advice: 5 senses isnt enough to explore universe secrets. u have to dig deep. if u dont think out of the box, u wont reach anywhere near what are we discussing here.
"A curious mind cannot be afraid of Unknown. It searches for the answers untill the end of time."

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HAGART
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby HAGART » 18 Nov 2014 08:40

Yes, there are more than 5 senses and I think that was addressed already. It was just a child-friendly way to teach. But we grow up.

I seriously want someone to tell me everything I've said is wrong, just like how I learned that atoms are an illusion. I'm at the cusp of a new idea, the edge of an enlightenment, and if nobody can pull me back I'm going through.

And at the other end, there is no soul.

Pull me back if you care.
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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deschainXIX
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 18 Nov 2014 13:14

Lol, I don't know what R99 thinks he's on about, but yes, HAGART, you've said something genuinely more or less profound (compared to, ah, those other two).

Yes, the diagram they show children is used to help understand the slightly abstract notion of the atom (which R99 obviously still needs help with). But I say again: physically seeing something with your eyes does not mean it is real. You can indirectly observe.

These things are confirmable. Mathematically and theoretically, but also pragmatically. The removal or addition of neutrons produces different isotopes, and the removal of addition of a proton produces a different element that exhibits different properties and behavior. Chemistry works, as a result--it's why you all have your various cleaning supplies and such. And we know how to build nuclear warheads whose power is derived from the heart of a split atom. I can go on and on trying to convince you people that--sorry, trying to say this with a straight face--atoms exist, but really you all can read up on it if you're interested.

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Well said.

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HAGART
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby HAGART » 18 Nov 2014 18:39

deschainXIX wrote:The removal or addition of neutrons produces different isotopes, and the removal of addition of a proton produces a different element that exhibits different properties and behavior. Chemistry works...


And the same question can be asked about the removal and addition of a soul. All this, and chemistry, has been thought of before way back when Frankenstein was written and even in modern times with the show, Full Metal Alchemist when they dabble in 'human transmutations'. They are fiction and don't prove anything other than the fact that this question has captivated our hearts and minds for years.

Everything in our universe should add up, and energy is conserved. The 'soul' doesn't. If it did, there must be a warehouse full of them just waiting to inhabit a body... well... a mind. Because even a human centipede is still 3 minds, and 3 'souls', despite being one body!

And what about the floating heads in a jar on Futurama? Does Richard Nixon have a soul?

Or what about the end of Terminator 2, when Arnold kills himself and dies... did he have a soul?

Souls and reincarnation sound awesome, but it just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe I'm stupid and watch to much television!
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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Summerlander
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby Summerlander » 18 Nov 2014 20:04

I'm 300 pages into Daniel Dennet's "Consciousness Explained." It is a great theory of human consciousness that highlights observations made from results in cognitive science, neurology, and brain evolution. It also comes laced with computing analogies, perceptual illusions and philosophy of mind. The brain does compute but it is not a computer. It contains pandemonium mechanisms, haphazard structures, and multiple spendthrift nodes. It is has been blindly generated by Darwinian evolution but it has stumbled upon the fluke of "drunk" parallel programs supporting one another. Eventually, it developed language as a necessity and this went a long way in developing and reinforcing the epiphenomenon of consciousness in Homo Sapiens.

All evidence points to the scenario that we are nothing but biological machines, funny robots that became self-aware using sensory organs. No soul or Cartesian Theatre is found in the brain. We are just physical matter, nothing more. Consciousness is an illusion - meaning it exists but it isn't what we think or feel it is. There is no self just as there is no real centre of gravity at the core of our planet (and never was before Earth even formed). It took atoms and molecules to gravitate towards one another in space.

The user illusion is like the wetness of water: none of the atoms or molecules (H2O, R99, if you are paying attention) are wet. Wet is an illusion...

Even if a soul were found, we still wouldn't have an explanation for consciousness as scientists and philosophers alike would be obliged to ask: How is the soul conscious?

The soul is an unnecessary hypothesis and as improbable as the fairy. It does not have explanatory power either and unjustly robs the physical universe of its own "magical" powers. Anyone who claims to know that consciousness can't possibly arise from physical matter in this universe talks out of their ass and indirectly assumes to know all there is to know about the way reality works to be able to make such a claim.

Evidently, physical matter can become conscious otherwise we would not be having this discussion. Evidently, nothing of a metaphysical or supernatural nature is observed in the brain or to be interacting with this one. Scientists do not have all the answers but they are certainly trying to find out how cerebral activity comes to produce conscious states.

What are all the soul fantasists doing for us?

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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deschainXIX
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 18 Nov 2014 20:31

@HAGART

You're not stupid for thinking that. Anyone with a halfway-serviceable brain doesn't see the sense in the soul theory.
Building on what you said about souls inhabiting minds: even then it doesn't make sense, because not all minds are individualistic. As I pointed out in my initial post, there is such a thing as a hive-mind.

@Summerlander

I have got to read that book. The question of consciousness has always plagued me, as it has for so many others.

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Well said.

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Summerlander
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby Summerlander » 18 Nov 2014 21:27

It is indeed a good book. I've also read Susan Blackmore's thesis on consciousness and she recommends Dennett's work, too. As a neuroscientist, lucid dreamer, and meditator, Sam Harris pretty much agrees with them in that the self is an illusion, and not, as some imagine, a homunculus residing in the brain. Given all the evidence, it is common sense to view the concept of a soul as a needless distraction and a ridiculous one at that. The notion of a supernatural elan vital is pretty much obsolete given how far we've come.

The problem with consciousness is that it is poorly defined. Looking for it is a bit of a conundrum for we don't even know what we are looking for. Sure, certain areas of the brain light up, 40 Hz of pulsation seems to play a role too, but, all these things are mere indications (plus reportability by the conscious individual, of course). We are trying to understand a puzzle that is billions of years old. It became fantastically and progressively complex during that time scale. The puzzle is, of course, the human brain. Reverse-engineering it would definitely provide more clues as to how consciousness came about. How is it done? But don't despair. Just as we developed the radar and sonar long after nature stumbled upon echolocation in bats, so will we, one day, devise conscious machines by learning from the brain. I hope we suss it out one day anyway...

I do feel that the Turing Test will not be enough to identify man-made consciousness though. If AIrs stumble upon it, how will they know it's not a mere robotic simulation? We'd have to replicate the human brain to be sure. Have you seen "Bicentennial Man"?

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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deschainXIX
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 19 Nov 2014 01:13

Everyone seems to have their own subjective definition of consciousness. I was very disappointed by my psychology textbook's explanation: "the state of being aware." This and nothing more. No expounding of any kind. With as soft a science as psychology is already, they still have so little to say on the subject. "Consciousness" is only a small sliver of the course material.

There are also so many questions and theories as to why consciousness arose in the universe. None of them really satisfy me; I tend to think that we don't really need a reason--at least no more than we need a reason for why the universe itself exists. Even if we could eventually discover the explanation, could our minds, at their current natural state, comprehend it? I am, however, partial to the idea that the universe vomited up this idea of consciousness as a way of affirming its own existence--to sort of have a way to view and observe itself. Though this idea is still extremely unsatisfactory, in my opinion. It doesn't really answer anything, at least not for me. I still adhere to the idea that perhaps consciousness is not so spectacular and remarkable a thing that we even need a reason to explain its existence.

I haven't seen "Bicentennial Man," but I love all movies that ponder artificial intelligence. There's a film coming out soon called "Chappie" by Neil Blomkamp, my favorite science fiction filmmaker. I get the impression it will be a more speculative, contemplative movie about artificial intelligence and the melding of androids with the rest of humanity--far more tame and mature compared to Blomkamp's other films, which were mostly filled with the most entertaining sci-fi action I've ever seen with less-than-subtle social allegory as a backdrop. The two movies sound similar.
Well said.


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